Panic attacks may not be lethal, but they are serious, uncomfortable and troubling to those who suffer one. They are also experienced by millions of Americans each year. Women, curiously enough, are twice as likely as men to have one, but these attacks hit both sexes surprisingly hard. Almost 3 percent of Americans have an attack each year and almost 5 percent of the adult population will suffer at least one attack during their lifetime. Usually, these attacks lift by themselves over time, but there are ways to mitigate the severity and duration of these episodes and WellWell has pulled together a list of tips on how best to handle one.
This Too Will Pass
Stay calm and remember the feelings associated with these attacks will pass, rarely causing any physical harm. In fact, the symptoms tend to begin subsiding after 10 minutes.
Take A Slow & Deep Breathe
The anxiety caused by these attacks will trigger rapid breathing. This can be offset by consciously slowing down your heart rate and taking deeper breathes.
Accentuate The Positive
A lot of things will come to mind during a panic attack and most of them will be negative. Concentrate on positive thoughts or anything that will shift your focus off these bad vibes. This distraction will speed the end of the symptoms.
Take A 100-Count
When anxiety hits, it is a good idea to start counting backwards from 100 by 3s if possible. The process will refocus the mind and push the troubling thoughts away. The end result is a faster return to calm.
Come To Your Senses
Remember to get yourself in the here and now by connecting to your physical surroundings. One way to achieve this is to start listing things you can see, hear, touch, smell and taste, especially those things that are pleasant.
Pain, numbness and overall tension are often associated with these attacks. Consciously relaxing the body is one way to lessen physical discomfort, reduce strain and remove anxious thoughts.
Think About It
Meditation is a great remedy for dealing with panic attacks and also pre-empting new attacks by reducing stress on a long-term basis. Meditation can be achieved at many levels as a beginner and deepened with practice and support.
Do you have a better way to deal with panic attacks? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org and don’t forget to consult medical professionals when needed.
WellWell editors independently identify services and products of interest. If readers purchase anything through the associated links, WellWell may earn a commission, which goes to support our work. Learn More.